May 27, 2010


Category: Literature :: Permalink

Why read Patrick O’Brian? There are many reasons. I could mention the gripping plots, the interesting characters, the historical accuracy and the air of authenticity, the many hilarious passages mingled with ones that break your heart. But here’s another reason: the quality of the language. Where else (besides Shakespeare) can you find such enjoyable invective, here from the mouth of Dr. Stephen Maturin?

They are deeply attached to one another; but since her mother, a widow with considerable property under her own control, is a deeply stupid, griping, illiberal, avid, tenacious, pinchfist lickpenny, a sordid lickpenny and a shrew, there is no hope of marriage… (H. M. S. Surprise, p. 26).

Posted by John Barach @ 12:31 pm | Discuss (1)

One Response to “Invective”

  1. Joshua Appel Says:


    Good man. I’m working on Peter and Toby. Peter is proving a particularly hard sell. May I suggest sending him an email every so often to encourage him in the right way?


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